Sunday, July 17, 2005

Singaporean impresses Notts County team mates

It turns out that Tampines Rovers' striker, Singaporean Noh Alam Shah is becoming quite the celebrity at Notts County, England. He's there on trial until the weekend, before belatedly rejoining Tampines Rovers at the ASEAN Football Federation Club Championship in Brunei. The nine-day tournament starts on Friday.

The Notts County players and youth teams are intrigued about Alam Shah's reputation as one of the best strikers in South East Asia. One of Singapore's heroes in January's Tiger Cup win, he is also the leading goalscorer in the S-League, with 15 goals in 16 games, Shah told The New Paper via a telephone interview yesterday.

"The club's first-team players kept calling me over to join them at lunch because, at first, I just sat quietly in one corner. They kept asking me about the kind of international sides I've played against. I told them I've played against the likes of Uruguay, Japan, Kuwait. They all looked very jealous and asked me about the biggest crowd I've played in front of. I said, 'more than 100,000 at the Senayan Stadium in Jakarta for the Indonesia Tiger Cup semi-final'. They couldn't imagine such a crowd and the atmosphere. Even the youth boys were eager to listen to the stories I had to tell. They asked about the standard of the S-League and the kind of money they could earn in Singapore. I guess it's because they are only used to playing in the lower divisions so when they hear my stories, they go 'wow'. Whereas when we go from Singapore to England, we take it as if they are many steps higher than us," Shah related.

Notts County is a team steeped in football history.Formed in 1862, they are the oldest professional football club in the world. Notts County now play in Championship Two, a league three rungs below the English Premier League.